Monica Galetti on her tears at stepping away from MasterChef: The Professionals

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Monica Galetti has spoken about her decision to step back from judging on MasterChef: The Professionals saying she was “in tears over it”.

In April the chef, 46, announced she would be taking a break from her role as a judge for the next series of the BBC One show, having been part of the judging panel for some 14 years.

She joined the initial line-up of Michel Roux Jr and Gregg Wallace, also appearing from 2014 with Marcus Wareing after Roux left.

Pictures courtesy of ‘Good Housekeeping UK / Chris Floyd’
Monica Galetti appears in September’s issue of Good Housekeeping magazine (Chris Floyd/Good Housekeeping UK/PA)

Appearing as the cover star for the September issue of Good Housekeeping, she said: “I was in tears over it because it’s been 14 years of my life.

“Something had to give, though.

“I freaked out at the thought of filming starting again because I didn’t have enough staff (at her restaurant Mere), I was already going three days a week without seeing my daughter and I had a very ill nephew.

“I felt like I needed to split into four people. I don’t have a poker face either, so you would have seen on screen how worried and distracted I was.”

The popular cooking series made the move from BBC Two to BBC One in 2020 and following the news of Galetti’s step back it was announced Anna Haugh will join the judging panel.

Haugh, who makes regular appearances on BBC One’s Morning Live and Saturday Kitchen, was one of the main chefs on BBC’s Ready Steady Cook and has also been seen in Channel 4’s Snackmasters and BBC One’s Royal Recipes.

Samoan-born Galetti trained as a chef in New Zealand and in 1999 made the move to London where she worked at Roux’s Michelin-starred restaurant Le Gavroche.

She left Le Gavroche in 2015 and in 2017 opened her first restaurant Mere, in London, named after her mother.

She has co-presented three series of BBC Two’s Amazing Hotels and has written several books.

Earlier this year she joined Dame Mary Berry on the panel to decide the winner of the Platinum Pudding competition in honour of the Queen’s Jubilee.

She said: “I had an absolute blast, especially with Mary Berry – even though we were constantly being told off.

“We’d be lost in conversation and suddenly we’d hear the producer say, ‘Mary and Monica, stop talking. Stop slouching. Come back this way!’

“When I bumped into Mary recently, she said ‘Oh, it’s my new best friend!'”.

Jemma Melvin’s lemon Swiss roll and amaretti trifle beat thousands of other dessert entries to become the official pudding of the Queen’s Jubilee celebrations, with Melvin crowned the winner on BBC One’s The Jubilee Pudding: 70 Years In The Baking.

Galetti also spoke about meeting the Queen previously, saying she had met the monarch “a few years ago” at a Buckingham Palace reception adding that it was one of her “most nervous moments ever”.

Pictures courtesy of ‘Good Housekeeping UK / Chris Floyd’
Monica Galetti spoke to Good Housekeeping about leaving Masterchef: The Professionals (Chris Floyd/Good Housekeeping UK/PA)

She explained: “First, I met Charles and Camilla, then I was chosen to be part of a separate line-up to meet Her Majesty.

“I had a wine glass with me, and thought, ‘Oh no, I can’t possibly meet The Queen holding a glass of wine,’ so I put it down. Then she walked round the corner with a glass of wine in her hand and I thought, ‘Oh, dammit!'”.

The full interview with Monica Galetti is in the September 2022 issue of Good Housekeeping, on sale from July 27.

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